Editor's note: Elite Series pro Brandon Palaniuk sent this letter to B.A.S.S. writer Don Barone in response to Barone's original letter: Open letter to Palaniuk.
I know that you are not a fisherman.
I know that you don’t follow sports.
Yet you still write about them.
You write about things that matter.
...not the glory.
You write from the heart and not the hand.
You “Get It.”
You write about the dirt on the hands that hold the trophy...
....not the trophy.
I have always said that the sport of bass fishing has something to offer that no other sport does, but it wasn’t until this week that I began to realize what I even meant by that.
The connection between professional anglers and their fans is closer than that of any other sport.
Without the fans, we have nothing.
No fishing industry.
No one to write to.
No one to connect with.
But you, my friend....
...YOU are the connection.
You take our common love of fishing and connect us.
Connect us with things that matter not in fishing, but in life.
Things that we can pass down to our children, grandchildren, and generations to come.
When I say “I will, db”...
...I mean it.
I will “Be Joyous”
I will “Be Thankful”
I will “Be Humble”
I am humbled by the words that you write.
I am thankful for our friendship.
I am joyous that we have good dudes like you.
It’s about more than the fishing.
And know this:
When I am as old as your socks and no matter...
...how many records have been broken.
...how many trophies have been raised.
...how many classics have been made.
Your finger prints will be all over it.
Thank you, my friend.